Opinion: Magento 2: The Smart Migration is a Proactive Migration

By Rachel Durkan

Do you remember the hot technologies in 2008? BlackBerry Messenger, Flip Video HD cameras, the first anniversary of the revolutionary iPhone? And the release of the Magento 1 enterprise-class e-commerce platform, currently the second most popular e-commerce platform globally, and one of the more complex?

In 2018, Adobe released Magento 2. In our fast-paced, ever-changing tech world, 10 years is like five lifetimes. So it’s no surprise that migrating to Magento 2 is highly involved, requiring recoding with the possibility of a complete site rebuild. That translates to a commitment of time, money and resources for which many businesses are not prepared.  

Well, time is running out. With the release of Magento 2, Adobe announced that it will retire Magento 1 at the end of July 2020 and end support in favor of the newer, more robust platform. So, if your organization is one of the nearly 250,000 companies running its e-commerce platform on Magento 1, the decision to migrate to Magento 2 or go another route is not an “if” scenario, but a “when.”

If your company’s IT team has not made the move, it’s not alone. Only 11,000 Magento 1 customers are running Magento 2, and it’s not hard to understand why. Wholescale technology upgrades are not to be considered lightly; they take preparation, collaboration, communication, evaluation, consideration and a few other “ions” along the way. Many corporate heads don’t give the issue the consideration it deserves. And many IT managers are already overwhelmed by their current IT environment and planned initiatives, making the enormity of this upgrade feel too big to take on. So, collectively, we put our heads in the sand and ignore it, hoping it will magically resolve itself.

This is a mistake, and here’s why: Every decision an owner, CEO, COO and/or CIO makes about the business is a business decision, and that includes the constant decision-making that an enterprise technology infrastructure requires. Staying on a platform that’s no longer supported is a bad decision that will put the company’s IT and e-commerce operations at risk.

Suppose that, in August, your company’s site crashes when Adobe is no longer supporting Magento 1. The online platform could be faced with a reactive, versus a proactive, back-end and front-end rebuild on an emergent basis, which can disrupt business operations and significantly impact the bottom line. 

This may sound bleak on the surface. However, this is an opportunity for your organization’s principals to reassess your web-based operations. Migrating off Magento 1 does not mean a forced upgrade to Magento 2; there are numerous other powerful, open-source platforms to evaluate and consider. Either way, now is the ideal time to pick a platform that supports your business goals. 

The process begins by assessing: 

  • How many and which divisions of the business would be impacted if the site goes down?
  • What role does the online platform play in the current business strategy? How will it be used in the future? 
  • How impactful is the site as an effective sales and marketing tool? 
  • How does the company intend to use it as a sales and marketing tool in the next five years? 
  • What individual and cumulative capabilities does the business need?
  • What current features/capabilities are no longer needed? 
  • What additional features/capabilities are needed?

The responses will help the IT organization and other key decision-makers to develop a fact-based assessment of Magento’s true value to the business. If this is a positive assessment, then the upgrade makes sense. If not, then it’s time to consider other platforms. But it’s critical that a decision be made — and quickly.

The process may seem daunting, particularly for IT professionals who are already pulled in multiple directions as they’re supporting the company’s IT infrastructure and its employees’ needs and demands. A complete website rebuild is probably the last thing they want to undertake. The good news is that there are outside resources — web developers who are experts in site migrations — who can take this burden off their plate and help inform their next steps. 

The clock is ticking on Magento 1, and your company and its IT organization need to start planning now. Failing to stay abreast of technology changes, or keeping your collective heads in the sand, could prove significantly more costly both in time and investments when you finally have to get up to date — with lost revenues due to slowed or stalled e-commerce operations.

But before investing in a complete site overhaul, your company’s decision-makers and those who hold the purse strings need to consider the broader implications for the business, so they can reach the decision that will best support its long-term goals.

Rachel Durkan is the founder and president of Pine Brook-based Paradigm Marketing and Design

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